So the NFL’s annual ‘next generation’ showcase has closed for yet another year. In the salary cap era the draft is supposed to be the great ‘eraser’ where GM’s across the league earn their money. Yet despite all the pre draft hype surrounding a number of players your uncle Jimmy had taken in his mock draft basement party, it’s easy to forget most of these rookies likely won’t contribute this year — despite an NFL record 40 draft day trades reflecting the immediate needs of a number of teams. Like every draft there were a number of surprises too; Daniel Jones going to the Giants for the 6th pick was a shocker, and several players with legitimate 1st round talent weren’t taken until day 3. Once again the draft proved one thing — no one outside of those respective war rooms knows a damn thing or what to truly expect, ourselves included. Nevertheless, due to said draft, free agency, veteran experience, strength of coaching and schedule, here are our initial power rankings for the 2019 NFL season. J
The NFL Draft is finally upon us. Tonight 32 college players will have their lives forever changed. Following our original draft predictions, not only have several moves been made (Frank Clark being one), but insider whispers have a number of players rising at the last minute. There will undoubtedly be a number of draft day trades, with teams wishing to move up and down the board. Nevertheless, on the assumption that there will be no trades here are our final first round draft predictions. J
1. Kyler Murray (Arizona Cardinals)
2. Nick Bosa (San Francisco 49ers)
3. Ed Oliver (New York Jets)
4. Devin White (Oakland Raiders)
5. Josh Allen (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
6. Quinnen Williams (New York Giants)
7. Jawaan Taylor (Jacksonville Jaguars)
8. Clelin Ferrell (Detroit Lions)
9. D.K. Metcalf (Buffalo Bills)
10. Drew Lock (Denver Broncos)
11. Marquise Brown (Cincinnati Bengals)
12. T.J. Hockenson (Green Bay Packers)
13. Dwayne Haskins (Miami Dolphins)
14. Christian Wilkins (Atlanta Falcons)
15. Greedy Williams (Washington Redskins)
16. Andre Dillard (Carolina Panthers)
17. Daniel Jones (New York Giants)
18. Cody Ford (Minnesota Vikings)
19. Jeffery Simmons (Tennessee Titans)
20. Byron Murphy (Pittsburgh Steelers)
21. Rashan Gary (Seattle Seahawks)
22. N’Keal Harry (Baltimore Ravens)
23. Greg Little (Houston Texans)
24. Noah Fant (Oakland Raiders)
25. Johnathan Abram (Philadelphia Eagles)
26. Dexter Lawrence (Indianapolis Colts)
27. Montez Sweat (Oakland Raiders)
28. Rock Ya-Sin (Los Angeles Chargers)
29. Devin Bush (Seattle Seahawks)
30. Jonah Williams (Green Bay Packers)
31. Garrett Bradbury (Los Angeles Rams)
32. Dalton Risner (New England Patriots)
The NFL Schedule will be released at 8PM ET (or 1am here in the UK) on the 17th/18th April. Here we take a look at what is almost always guaranteed and how the schedule organizers might spring a surprise.
Lock: Cowboys vs Giants on SNF
The NFL stunned the football world a year ago when they didn’t schedule Dallas against New York for Week 1 Sunday Night Football, opting for Week 2 instead. The NFL loves to have two of its biggest markets in the spotlight even when they’re both terrible. So even though the Giants are expected to be one of, if not the worst team in the NFL this season, expect them to host Dallas early this autumn.
Shock: more of the Jets
Speaking of New York and prime time games, don’t be surprised to see the green half of the Big Apple appearing under the lights more times in 2019. The Jets had two prime time games last year; in Detroit and in Baker Mayfield’s debut in Cleveland. Whilst they probably won’t threaten the playoffs, offseason acquisitions such as Le’veon Bell and CJ Mosely certainly make New York a more watchable team. Couple that with a second year QB and terrible new uniforms and they’re a dead cert for some prime time action.
Lock: Patriots have favourable bye week position
Now, I’m not suggesting that the Patriots ask the NFL to schedule their bye week between weeks 9-11, typically seen as the best time to have a bye as it is half way through the season, but four of the last five Patriots bye weeks have been in weeks 9-11. Expect nothing different in 2019.
Shock: Patriots play the Chiefs late into the season
Now many people think this is a lock for the opening Sunday Night Football (banner night for New England) as the NFL will want a marquee game to bring in a ratings boost early. However, this will certainly be a game that will have playoff implications and therefore to me seems nonsensical to have so early on the season. KC @ NE was week 1 in 2017 and week 6 in 2018, expect the two meet weeks 12-16 this time around.
Lock: one prime time game for ARI, MIA and TB
I mean, you could make an argument for the Arizona Cardinals to have more than one game under the lights simply because of the league consensus that they will draft Kyler Murray at #1, but other than that they are terrible and won’t threaten the playoffs. The Dolphins are equally terrible and just aren’t entertaining enough to be playing in prime time. Bucs games are more exciting due to their electric offense and woeful defence, but that won’t be enough to force more than a single divisional prime time game.
Shock: Baltimore and Pittsburgh meet in Week 17
For whatever reason, since the NFL introduced the rule that all Week 17 games would be divisional games, one of them has never been Baltimore vs Pittsburgh. Maybe it has been seen as too big a game for the final week with too much at stake, but these two are no longer the best in the AFC North. That title now belongs to the Browns, so it would be fun to see these two battle it out for the AFC’s sixth seed on the final day. Will it happen? Probably not, but it’d still be fun. B